Letter from the Vicar 29 November 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s as we begin Advent together. Last Sunday we celebrated Christ the King in grand style and now our tone changes as we begin to wait on the Lord’s coming. Today the Mass begins with the Asperges, which is the sprinkling of baptismal water. This provides emphasis on the penitential aspect of this season by reminding us of our baptism and the promises that were made then. At 7:00 pm tonight we offer the Advent Carol Service, one of the real highlights of the year.

Whilst the liturgical seasons have a certain logic and progression to them, they also each possess an inner character which has its own graces and challenges for us. Advent calls us to stand with the Old Testament prophets and patriarchs, and indeed all faithful Israel as it waits and hopes and prays for the coming of the Messiah. Advent is sometimes called the season of the Virgin Mary because God answers this great longing by causing his Son to be announced, conceived, and then born of her, as we shall hear over these coming weeks. Indeed the promise made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah is fulfilled. This gives the season of Advent an underlying joy as we approach Christmas. Our place in the story of salvation calls us now to wait and pray for the second coming of Christ when all things will be fulfilled.

Waiting is something we are not good at doing. In this age of instant gratification and communication, waiting seems like a scandal. Yet the ability to wait and to pray is a critical spiritual strength required in these days, and it is one that we can nurture and develop by the use of spiritual disciplines over the weeks of Advent. Such thoughts are a particular challenge for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere where the coming weeks are characterised, even in church life, as a season of parties and winding down for a well-earned summer break.

It is good to accord this season at the very least one extra spiritual discipline. This could be an extra attendance at a weekday Mass. It could be attendance at Morning Prayer, which happens at 8:00 am on weekdays in the church. It could be by using the readings list provided in the Trumpet today and choosing a quiet time each day of ten minutes or more to wait on the coming of the Lord.

I am delighted to announce that the Very Revd Michael Brown will be joining the clergy team at S. Michael’s. The Very Revd Michael was Vicar of Merivale before moving to Wellington to be Dean, where he oversaw the completion of the Cathedral building.

Maranatha: Come Lord Jesus
Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

• Verger: expressions of interest are invited from people willing to act as verger for weddings and funerals. Please speak to Fr Andrew.
• Sales Table: Sundays after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• Christmas Raffle: please speak to Anne Ladd if you can donate items suitable for prizes.
• Lunch at Regatta on Avon 12:15 pm today. All welcome. Details Kathryn Starky.
• The Bible Study Group: final meeting for the year tomorrow. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• The Needlework Group meets on Tuesday. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• The Rolleston Home Group meets on Wednesday, 11:00 am at 111 Tennyson St, Rolleston. Details Jenny Daniels (347 7629).
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• The Parish Trust meets on Wednesday at 5:15 pm.
• Canterbury Shakespeare Society Christmas Celebration: pot-luck meal in the parish lounge, Thursday from 6:30 pm. Details John De la Bere (981 7582).
• Garden City Orchestra Messiah Sing-Along: combined choirs, on Saturday 7:30 pm at S. Michael’s. Door sales $15 and $10.
• School Carol Service: next Sunday at 5:00 pm.
• S. Michael’s School Thursday 10 December: 8:40 am final School Mass. 6:00 pm prizegiving function at Christ’s College.
• Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
• Inasmuch Basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items. New toys and books for children are particularly needed for Christmas presents, and also food suitable for the Christmas lunch.